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originally posted by:DISRAELI
Everything the Old Testament says about blood follows on from the one fundamental principle;
“The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus ch17 v11).
We don’t know the exact meaning of YHWH, because we’ve lost all knowledge of what the vowels were, but the odds are that it meant “The one who lives” or “The one who gives life”, or both.
If the Lord is Life and the source of Life, and if the life in living things is to be found in their blood, this leads to the conclusion that the blood itself ultimately belongs to the Lord.
That conclusion has practical implications.
Some of them are spelled out in the commands given to Noah (Genesis ch9 vv1-7).
When men kill animals for food, they are, in principle, taking what belongs to God.
He permits it, though, on the condition that they don’t touch the blood itself.
Human life is a different matter, because human life was made “in the image of God”.
That would make us the “image” of a God who is self-aware, intelligent and reasoning and consciously willing.
So human life comes under his protection.
Except Yahweh, of course.
Anyone who takes that life,
without his permission, will have to give a life back.
“Of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed”.
And if blood is shed in the land, then the land itself is “defiled” (Numbers ch35 v33).
That is why the man who pursues a murderer is called “the avenger of blood” (as in Numbers ch35 v19).
As long as the death is unavenged, the blood itself is understood to be demanding vengeance, on the victim’s behalf;
“The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground” (Genesis ch4 v10).
Incidentally, this is exactly what is happening at the opening of the “fifth seal” in Revelation ch6. It is the blood of the martyrs which is calling for vindication against those who have killed them.
If a man has killed unjustly, then the blood of his victim metaphorically “lies upon him”, where it presumably calls down God’s wrath;
“The Lord will bring back his bloody deeds upon his own head, because…he attacked and slew with the sword two men more righteous than himself. So shall their blood come back upon the head of Joab” (1 Kings ch2 vv32-33).
Jesus is using the same image when he tells the scribes and Pharisees “I send you [people you will persecute]…that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to Zechariah the son of Barachiah”
As in the case of the night-burglar (Exodus ch22 v2), or the man who ignores the conditions of the protection promised to Rahab’s household;
“If any one goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his head and we will be guiltless.
But if a hand is laid upon any one who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head” (Joshua ch2 v19).
The blood of animals belongs to the Lord as well, for the same reason.
It’s the symbol of the life which he gives.
One of the implications is that their blood can be used to mark out and identify anything else that belongs to the Lord.
The classic example is the original Passover, when the people of Israel were told to smear the blood of the sacrificed lamb on the lintels and posts of their doors.
This mark was to identify them as the Lord’s people.
“And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you and destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt” (Exodus ch12 v13)
The consecration of the altar was carried out by means of the bull of the sin offering.
“And Moses killed it and took the blood, and with his finger put it on the horns of the altar round about, and purified the altar, and consecrated it” (Leviticus ch8
Moving on to the priests themselves, he took the ram of ordination.
“And Moses killed it, and took some of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron’s right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the great toe of his right foot”, and he did the same for the sons of Aaron (vv22-24).
Finally he “took some of the anointing oil and of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron and his garments…so he consecrated Aaron and his garments, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him” (v30).
At least part of the symbolism of this action must have been “This blood belongs to the Lord, the source of life, so it shows how these things and these people have been set aside for the service of the Lord. They have been marked out as his property.”
As already mentioned, the Lord allowed his people to eat animal flesh, on condition that they respected his ownership of the blood.
At the very least, they should pour it out on the earth, which was one way of returning it to him (Deuteronomy ch12 v16).
In fact anyone who failed to offer it back to the Lord incurred “bloodguilt”; that is, it is an offence comparable to the shedding of human blood;
“If any man of the house of Israel kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the door of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to the Lord [so that the priest can sprinkle the blood on the altar and burn the fat]…bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man; he has shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people.” (Leviticus ch17 vv3-4)
It’s all part of recognising the Lord as the source of life.
That command must have applied in the early days, before sacrifice got complicated.
But even when it ceased to be the routine to sacrifice every animal that was eaten, the offering of blood was the central point of most of the acts of sacrifice.
In particular, of course, the sacrifice of atonement, for the blood was supposed to be reserved for that purpose.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your sins” (Leviticus ch17 v11).
I looked at atonement in more detail on other occasions.
I came to the conclusion that the real value of the offering of blood lies in the symbolism.
It is the offering of life, offered back to the God who gives life in the first place.
When the people of Israel offer the blood of animals, it’s a token of the offering of their own lives.
But it’s only a token, which is why it can never be a complete fulfilment of what their God requires. As he keeps telling them.
The Gentile church did not take up the ritual customs of the Jewish religion.
This means, amongst other things, that they did not follow Jewish practice in the treatment of blood.
But the continuing performance of the rituals was less necessary once they had fulfilled their teaching function.
At the same time we are taught, from the Creation story onwards, that life itself comes from the Lord. We don’t know the exact meaning of YHWH, because we’ve lost all knowledge of what the vowels were, but the odds are that it meant “The one who lives” or “The one who gives life”, or both.
originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: NOTurTypical
The suggestion is not unique to me.
The root meaning of the verb may be more "being" or "becoming", but in the case of a God "being" and "living" are synonymous.
originally posted by: NOTurTypical
a reply to: Shahada
Lol, no. God is talking about the first born of the oxen and sheep!! Those were reserved for sacrifice in the OT. They were weaned on the 8th day from mothers milk.
You will not curse God, and a prince of your people, you will not smear. For your goods and your wine-pressings do not be late, your eldest son offer to me. Thus you will do for your oxen and your sheep: seven days it will be with its mother, on the eighth day, give to me. And a holy people thou shalt be to me, and predated carcasses in the field you will not eat, you shalt throw it to the dogs.—Exodus 22:27
All that breaks opens a womb, and all your livestock remember, first birth a bull and a sheep. And first birth of donkeys you will redeem with a sheep, and if you will not redeem it, break its neck. All your firstborn sons, redeem, and they will not see my face devoid of these.—Exodus 34:19-20